Almost 2 weeks into our milling trip it’s no surprise that we’re getting very, very tired. Living rough in the jungle and working with chainsaws 8 hours a day away from families is tough.

Monster tree, giving lots of wood

Each day has both routine and unexpected difficulties. Routine chores like pumping new fuel from the drums, maintaining chainsaws, filtering drinking water and packing tools for the day’s hike to the work area tire you out. Then each day has unique stresses, like not sleeping much at all last night due to mice running around within a foot of my sleeping area. I’m pretty used to camping, but haven’t figured out how to sleep soundly with the pitter patter of tiny feet by my head yet.

I spent the night playing a game of whack a mouse, unsuccessfully, getting to sleep finally around 2. Tonight’s strategy is to fall fast asleep before mousy turns up! So today’s extra challenge was plain tiredness. At least it wasn’t rain and mud thrown in too!

On day whatever it is now if this trip we’re tired in most every way and getting up the mountain trail in the morning is a mental and physical slog. Progress is steady, but not particularly encouraging as there’s always hundreds (1500) planks left to cut.

How good it was to read Hebrews 12 again. So good in fact I’ve been working on commiting the whole chapter to memory.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

Heb 12:1

Run with endurance. Not really a new idea, not really very insightful, and it could have been said by anyone. The thing that has grabbed me though is ‘the race that is set before us’. It hit me, this is the path God himself has specifically set for me. It’s no accident I’m here facing these challenges, nor is it simply the result of my choices it’s something God himself has set in my path to overcome. It’s no mere cheerleader shouting on ‘keep running, run with endurance’ but my heavenly father himself who set me on this path for my own good, for his glory and for the benefit of the Kovol people.

And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

Heb 12:5-6
Burns, part of the challenge

I’ve been dreading the milling and house building portion of tribal missions since I started the journey. I’m not a builder. Give me an undocumented language to figure out, give me gruelling hikes, give me rough living; but building a house… I’m not gifted, equipped or able.

It’s always been a hurdle to get over, and hopefully quickly, but the reality has been as tough, stressful, tiring and unending as I’d always expected. It made me weary, and what a good word to hear – this is your race, set before you in purpose – don’t just write it off as a necessary evil, your heavenly father is treating you as a son.

Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees,

Heb 12:12

Apt indeed. Drooping hands and weak knees is exactly where I am right now.

It’s great to know that there is more going on than just aches and pains, cuts and scratches, slipping in mud, wrestling with discouragement over broken chainsaw parts, mice, mud, run, unsalted root vegetables breakfast, lunch and dinner, bugs, burns and a seemingly unending task still before us. This is the race that was set specifically for me, and I’m not quitting.

Sunset in Kovol


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